The following sketch of the Christian Church in Hopkinsville was compiled from the history of that church written by Col. George Poindexter: The Christian Church was organized in Hopkinsville in November, 1832. Previous to this an open rupture had taken place between those who sympathized with Alexander Campbell in his reformatory movements, and the Baptist Church in Kentucky. This rupture led to much warm contention and strife throughout the State, which, with the action of the Bethel Baptist Association held in Hopkinsville a short time previous, led to and hastened the formation of this church. Three persons who withdrew from the Baptist Church and some few others out of church relation, but baptized believers who were in full accord with Alexander Campbell, with a remnant of the old Christian Church in sympathy with Barton W. Stone, met at the court house on the date above named, and, with the assistance of Isaiah Boone, Dr. A. Adams and William Davenport, an organization was effected. At this meeting were enrolled the names of Miles Gray, R. S. Dulin, Thomas Poindexter, Phoebe Poindexter, Martha Williams, Samuel Calloway, Athelia Calloway, Samuel Harry, Mary Harry, George Poindexter, Joseph Stewart, Charles Stew-art, B. F. Shields, Elizabeth Shipp, B. T. Wood and Eliza Rowland. At a subsequent meeting in December, the church appointed R. S. Dulin, Miles Gray and S. W. Calloway, Elders; Thomas and George Poindexter, Deacons, and George Poindexter, Clerk. Thus organized, the church next looked around for a suitable place of worship. This was found in the small brick meeting-house owned by the adherents of Mr. Stone in common with the Cumberland Presbyterians. Here both congregations worshiped on alternate Sundays for several years. In 1840 it was partially destroyed by wind during a violent storm, and the Cumberland Presbyterians preferring to sell out their interest in the building rather than incur the expense of repairing it, it became the sole property of the Reformers. It was soon repaired by the latter and from then on to the fall of 1850 they continued to use it as their place of regular worship. In 1849 the building again needed repairs, and the church having grown in strength financially as well as numerically, it was decided to erect a new and more commodious edifice rather than repair and refit the old one. Accordingly a subscription was started and steps taken to begin the work immediately. By the fall of the next year, 1850, the building was so far advanced as to permit the occupancy of the basement rooms, and in these they continued to worship till its final completion in the summer of 1851. The entire cost of the building did not exceed $10,000, and in it the congregation have since continued to worship. The present officers of the church are: Elders, E. H. Hopper, George Poindexter, B. S. Camp-bell, D. J. Gish, John Orr, and George C. Long; Deacons, M. D. Steele, James E. Jesup, Milton Gant, Edward Campbell, John Boxley, W. P. Winfree and Dennis F. Smithson. The pastors who have from time to time served this church are as follows, viz.: Isaiah Boone, George P. Street, Henry T. Anderson, George W. Elly, John D. Ferguson, William C. Rogers, John M. Barnes, Enos Campbell, James M. Long, A. W. Walthall, W. J. Barbee, T. A. Crenshaw, R. C. Cave, L. H. Stine, C. K. Marshall and E. L. Powell. This latter much beloved pastor and faithful man of God, while delivering an impassioned address to his congregation in February, 1850, was stricken down with apoplexy, and in a few hours called to his heavenly reward. That he was not only beloved by his own flock, but held in high esteem by the community at large was fully attested by the many expressions of tender sympathy and condolence proffered the bereaved family, and the large concourse of citizens who attended his remains to the grave.
Besides the regular pastors many other eminent Ministers of the Gospel from abroad have visited the church from time to time and broken to them the Bread of Life. Among them, and chiefest, the venerable Alexander Campbell may be mentioned, who visited the church three times before his death. The Revs. Barton W. Stone, Allen and Carroll Kendrick, William Morton, Dr. W. H. Hopson, J. H. Jones, John Echbaum, Knowles Shaw, Talbott Farming, J. W. McGarvey, W. S. Keen and C. M. Day. Col. George Poindexter, to whom we are indebted for the facts for this sketch, relates the following anecdote in connection with a visit of Barton W. Stone to the Hopkinsville Church. The writer of this never had the pleasure of being in the presence of Mr. Stone but once, and then only for a short time. While visiting this place (the year not remembered) I went with him to show him the house of old Sister Shipp, whom he had known in former years. On our way there a sudden shower drove us to seek shelter in the nearest house. Finding the door open, and the rain beginning to fall fast, we stepped in without knocking. In the room we found a pious and much esteemed old lady, a mother in Israel in the Presbyterian Church. When we entered the room she rose to her feet and intently fixed her eyes on the venerable old man. Without a word being spoken by either, for some moments they earnestly scanned each other, then, advancing toward him with a quick step and a look of recognition, she exclaimed: ‘ Barton W. Stone ! ‘ In an instant her arms were about his neck, her forehead on his shoulder, while her streaming eyes attested the glad surprise she felt at meeting him. Though she differed with him religiously, yet had she long loved him for his goodness and faithfulness in the cause and kingdom of their common Lord. She only saw before her the honored Christian, the faithful minister, the valiant soldier of the Cross. The scene to me was a highly interesting one, and to this day when it recurs to my mind I can but think how naturally the hearts of all Christians would flow together in sympathy and love but for the pride of opinion, the tyranny of sectarianism.”
In connection with the pastorate it is a remarkable fact, and one well worthy of mention, that no pastor, no one who has ever served this congregation, has been suffered to go away unpaid, even to the last farthing. Another item, and one especially creditable to the enlightened liberality and Christian benevolence of the membership is the fact that they have always contributed their quota of means, and done what they could for the spread of the Gospel among the benighted of the earth. In this connection, and as an illustration of the fact, an interesting incident is related by Col. Poindexter in his sketch of the church: ” In the beginning of the year 1853 the Christian Missionary Society made a call for some one qualified and willing to go to Liberia as their missionary. Aleck Cross, a colored man, had been living here several years, and was well known to the church as a pious and orderly member, and as possessed with extra-ordinary gifts as a public speaker. The church deeming him a suitable person for the place conferred with him on the subject, and found him both willing and anxious to go could his freedom be obtained. His owner, a Mr. Cross, of Todd County, was seen, and out of consideration for his kind feelings for Aleck, and the worthy object in view, he consented to let the church have him for the nominal sum of $550, notwithstanding he could easily have gotten $1,200 elsewhere. Having secured his freedom, the church provided him with books and other necessary means of improving his mind, of which he industriously availed himself till his departure for Africa. Enos Campbell voluntarily took him under his supervision and instruction, and so assiduous was he in his self-imposed labor of love that by the time he was ready to depart he had been well qualified for the duties and responsibilities of the station. He landed on the coast of Africa in the winter of 1853-54, and so eager was he to begin his labors that he would not wait till sufficiently recovered from the effects of the inevitable climate fever of the coast, but at once entered upon the work of his mission. The exposure was too sudden, and brought on a fatal relapse, and just when we were expecting good news from him came the intelligence of his death. The news brought general sorrow and regret to all who knew him, and well it might, for he was no ordinary man, and gave great promise of future usefulness.”
The Sunday-school connected with this church, from the time of its first organization, about thirty-five years ago, has been regularly and successfully kept up, and has proved not only of inestimable benefit to the young, but a great blessing to the church. At present it is in a very flourishing condition, and now numbers some 125 in officers, teachers and pupils.
In the cause of general education, beside many benefactions to other institutions, the church points with pride to the South Kentucky College, with its elegant and commodious buildings and broad campus, which stood at the head of Nashville Street, in Hopkinsville, and was lately burned, but which, through the efforts of the Faculty under the management of Maj. S. R. Crumbaugh, will be rebuilt and ready for the fall term of (1884) the present year.
Rev. Henry Anderson
At the request of his friends a few words in connection with the Christian Church is devoted to Elder Henry Anderson, once its pastor. He was born in Caroline County, Va., in 1812, and was reared and educated under the influence of Baptist parents. He was married when but nineteen years of age to Miss Jane Buckner of Virginia, and the year following entered upon the duties of a Christian minister. His entire life was one of continued ministerial labor to which he added a great amount of classical study, taking up the Hebrew language without the aid of any instructor but his books, and obtained complete mastery of the tongue. Much of his life study was devoted to a translation of the New Testament, which he published in the year 1862. He came to Hopkinsville in 1837, remaining until 1846, during which time he organized many of the churches in this and the adjoining counties. Here, in 1848, his wife died. He removed to Louisville in 1847, and until 1854 was pastor of the Fourth and Walnut Street Church, and though pressed to remain, he decided to remove, going to the vicinity of Harrodsburg, Ky. Here and at various other points in Kentucky he labored with marked success, until he finally became the pastor of a church in Washington City, where he died in 1872. He has two children living: Clarence Anderson of Hopkinsville, and Lelia, wife of Dr. Benjamin Trabue, of Glasgow, Ky.